Roar of motorway blights education
Urgent calls to resurface the noisy M3 near Winchester are to be made to the Government by civic leaders. The plea comes amid fears that the roar of traffic is harming the education of more than 100 children at a Compton special school. A new study into the impact of noise in classrooms backs the concerns, shared by parents and teachers at Shepherds Down School. Researchers at a London university found when there were high levels of background noise, children did not perform as well in tests and had problems with concentration.
Children with special needs were especially vulnerable. The issue was raised by Lib-Dem councillor, Charlotte Bailey, who told colleagues that children with special needs had to compete with 70 decibels of noise from the M3, metres from the school. World Health Organisation guidelines set maximum background limits at 35 decibels and say levels in special schools should be even lower.” The technology is available to cut levels of noise with a whisper asphalt surface and only government will is lacking,” said Mrs Bailey.
Fed-up villagers in Compton, Shawford and Otterbourne want the motorway, which carries 110,000 vehicles a day, to be resurfaced. They claim the roar is unbearable and stops them sitting in their gardens or opening windows. The campaign is backed by local MP, Mark Oaten, who said: “This confirms our fears. Noisy classrooms can hinder learning and children with special educational needs are especially vulnerable. “In the light of these findings, it is even more imperative that the Government looks again at its reluctance to resurface the M3.”
Reprinted from the Hampshire Chronicle
26 April 2002
by permission of the Editor